The World Food Prize Foundation

Deann Cook | United Ways of Iowa

Deann Cook
Executive Director, United Ways of Iowa

Deann Cook is executive director of United Ways of Iowa. UWI is the statewide association of 25 Iowa United Ways and focuses on public policy, training and networking. In this role, she is responsible for leading Iowa’s largest AmeriCorps program, Iowa Reading Corps. She also advocates for policies to move more Iowa households to financial stability by improving their access to educational opportunities and healthcare, in addition to removing barriers to employment, including childcare and transportation.

Deann has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience as both staff and board member at the local, state and national levels. She currently serves on the executive committees of the United Way Council of States and the Iowa Literacy Council and the advisory boards of the University of Iowa Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences and Iowa Women of Achievement Awards. Prior board service includes the Association of Junior Leagues International, Diocese of Des Moines Board of Education, Holy Family Inner-City Youth Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse Iowa and the Iowa Women Lead Change Central Iowa Steering Committee.

Deann received her BA from Central College in Sociology and Business Management. She is currently working toward her Masters of Public Policy from the University of Northern Iowa.  


United Ways of Iowa

United Ways of Iowa is the association of all United Ways serving Iowa communities. Together, these United Ways raise over $60 million annually, contributed by 125,000 Iowans, to fund over 800 programs. UWI's role is to facilitate advocacy, training and networking opportunities for its members. Advocacy efforts include access to education and healthcare, as well as moving Iowa households to financial stability by eliminating barriers to employment. United Ways of Iowa also presents the biennial ALICE Report for Iowa - a study of Iowa households who are above the Federal Poverty Level, but unable to meet a basic needs budget in the county in which they live.

In addition to association work, United Ways of Iowa also manages two statewide programs. Iowa Reading Corps, the state's largest AmeriCorps program, provides one-on-one tutoring to students in grades K-3 to assist them in achieving reading proficiency by the end of third grade. UWI also manages the Foster Grandparent Program in ten Iowa counties. This program places low-income seniors into school and childcare settings to provide children with mentors and reading support. The grandparents receive a small stipend for their service.

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